The New School for Drama is a fresh creation of the long-standing Greenwich Village educational institution. It will offer a three-year theatre M.F.A. in Dramatic Arts, with degrees in acting, directing and playwriting. Faculty members will include Susan Aston, Gene Lasko, Ron Leibman, Lloyd Richards, Paul Rudd, Christopher Shinn, Arthur Storch, Tony Walton and Michael Weller.
The announcement coincided with the New School's official severing of ties with The Actors Studio, the storied bastion of Method acting founded in 1947 by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis, and run for 30 years by Lee Strasberg. The Studio has run the New School's drama department for more than a decade. The negotiations surrounding the split have been going on for months and have not been without their tensions.
New School University president Bob Kerrey pointed out in a statement that the institution's theatrical legacy preceded its association with the Actors Studio, going back to the 1940s when famed German director Erwin Piscator led the Drama Workshop. Piscator's students included Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau, Shelley Winters and Elaine Stritch.
LuPone first found fame as an actor, playing Zach in the original A Chorus Line. Later, in 1977, he formed MCC Theatre with Bernard Telsey. Over the years, the nonprofit has presented such plays as The Grey Zone, Wit, Nixon's Nixon and Frozen. The latter moved to Broadway, with LuPone as a producer. Meanwhile, LuPone continued to act in productions on Broadway and off like True West and Four Beers. He is a member of the Actors Studio.
LuPone will be aided by Arthur Penn, who was named an artistic advisor to the New School of Drama. According to the New York Times, the Actors Studio's drama school is "being pursued by several major institutions in the city," and will find a new home.